What else would you like to share?

Craig: I want to keep digging into this idea about creating implicit, maybe even explicit, movement snacks kind of signs, but implicit permission for people to play. A very common theme, everybody has heard this is you say, “Well, we’re going to try and get people to …” Let’s say [00:05:00] work out on a bench here, “How many ways can you find to get over this bench?” Then, somebody immediately goes, “But there’s a risk of danger there.” How do we balance that perception of risk? Do we balance that perception of risk, or do we try to dispel that perception?

Caitlin: I think a lot of people exaggerate the risk in their head. Again, a lot of — if we go Parkour specific — there are already these preconceived notions of what Parkour is. [00:05:30] But even with play and jumping around, any sort of rough-housing, there’s always this kind of aversion. Across the board in how I talk to city officials and groups looking to implement something for play or Parkour, even in the form of programs, the concerns are always security and safety of the participants or of the assets of the park, the infrastructure of the park, or even fear of legal repercussion.

[00:06:00] However, I think that humans are fairly… have a very strong sense of self preservation. A lot people are fairly cautious as it is to begin with their movement. I think that if we are constantly taking risk out of our play spaces and out of our parks in entirety, you’re only going to get boring spaces. Risk gives you choice, and it gives you opportunity to explore and challenge yourself. [00:06:30] Risk is a choice, and you have to learn how to negotiate acceptable and unacceptable risks in our lives. Play is a very safe space to learn how to do that. Like I said, if you remove it …

Craig: Right. You’re taking the value out of the movement.

Caitlin: Exactly. As I said, you get left with boring public spaces, boring playgrounds like the out-of-the-box systems that you see popping up everywhere. Yeah, how many times have I been to a playground, you see there’s a giant, colorful [00:07:00] play structure thing and none of the kids are on it. They’re actually over there playing with the dirt and stone, whatever it is, or the metal they found laying around about, because there’s nothing …

Craig: Yeah. The designers of that play space that we’re talking about, they removed the creativity that was necessary in order to play. Then the kids, who are inherently creative and inherently seeking to fulfill that urge to be creative, they don’t go at the place space. They go at the picnic table.

Caitlin: Yeah, exactly, because there’s more of an open ended question there to answer, something [00:07:30] creative, something worth exploring. You’re not being told what to do or how to do it.

Craig: Obviously we’re talking about western culture here, because that where we are. In our culture along the way the normalcy of play just went away. If you are an adult and you’re out balancing on a railing, that’s abnormal and you’re going to get sideways looks and glances. How do we get that back? How do we move people back to seeing humans balancing on a railing and just thinking [00:08:00] that’s normal?

Caitlin: Right, absolutely. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do with these kind of invitations. I think that people need to re-discover play for themselves if they’re going to be tolerant of play coming from other people. Because again there’s such a strong disconnection for so many people from what their bodies can actually do, because their experience is going to work, sitting down all day. They don’t actually understand what the human body is capable of, or rather what their human body … It’s not an exception to be able [00:08:30] to balance. It’s not exception to be able to jump. Everyone should be able to balance and jump and climb.

Craig: That’s your birthright. That’s the way your body works.

Caitlin: Exactly. It’s the universal human language, movement. I think that the most important thing that needs to happen is creating these very low risk, very high accessible, like high accessibility opportunities and invitations to play, to move in your public spaces that starts to normalize play again. [00:09:00] Break the social normals. Especially like I said because for a lot of people I know– this is changing with the emergence of social media and these playful tech companies that are popping up and talking about having better, more playful fun oriented cultures. A lot of people still have a cubicle-life experience or are stuck behind a computer, and there’s not a lot of room for creativity or play or any of these things. It’s so absent [00:09:30] from every other aspect of your life that it’s hard to allow it from other people.

What else would you like to share?

Mentioned in this section:
Peter Kageyama, Love Where You Live
The Walk Your City project

Craig: Everybody talks about, I want more people to come out and train Parkour with me. I want more adults. I want more kids. I want more girls to show up– all these things. I think the gateway to that is by encouraging and inviting more people to simply play.

Caitlin: Absolutely.

Craig: There are a couple of examples of that. That you can make up scavenger hunts and get people to try and do that. There’s a really good one, I think it’s from …

Caitlin: Greenville, [00:19:00] South Carolina. Yeah. There is this project called Mice on Main. I believe it was a high school student came up with this idea cast a bunch of mice that are like maybe a foot big.

Craig: The size of softball. Right?

Caitlin: Yeah. Not very big at all. He put them all up and down the main street of the town. One was up high on a light fixture, and one was down low. They’re all over. Right? People go to this town now and they walk around, and they go hunting for these mice because they know they’re there. All the shops [00:19:30] tell people, “Did you find the mice on main?” What you see is people walking around laughing, in these fits of joyous surprise. You know when someone has found one. I heard about this from an author named Peter Kageyama. He writes this book called Love Where You Live. It’s a really great book about activating your community through play. You have people squatting down, getting on their toes, taking pictures. This [00:20:00] is a really small way that people are starting to use their bodies even. Think about how you can take that idea and use that in your town. What are the cute little, cool features that make your town uniquely yours? How can you create a project that marks them out and has people hunting around for them?

Craig: Right. Literally invites them to interact with it, interact with their world.

Caitlin: That’s like going back to the idea of how people sometimes see walking as work. How can you re-associate movement with positive feelings? For a lot of [00:20:30] people they don’t have positive feelings towards movement. If I walk around a city and I’m laughing, and I’m having fun, I’m probably for one of the rare times associating movement with this walking with joy and laughter and play. Kind of makes me want to do it more. That was a very tiny project, low budget, and it has a huge impact. I think there’s lots of little things like that through art, through music, even through signage.

There is another project. That [00:21:00] a student put up a bunch of signs telling people how … Like, it’s seven minutes to walk here, and 10 minutes to walk there.

Craig: Right. Five blocks to this.

Caitlin: Exactly. More people started walking.

Craig: Just stuck them. No permission. Then, people started following the signs, and eventually somebody said, “Why are these signs here? Let’s take them down.” Then, there was social outcry, because, “No, we like our signs!”

Caitlin: Yes, exactly. I think that’s turned into project called Walk Your City, if you’re interested. Really small things can get people just moving in a way that will have them happy and moving. If you get people happy and moving, they will look for more opportunities to be happy and moving, [00:21:30] which will bring them to you.

Craig: Right. To your Parkour class.

Caitlin: Hopefully, or to other things.

Craig: To take the class that you created for over-40s, or they play handball or …

Caitlin: Honestly, it doesn’t have to come to you, because at the end of the day, what we all want is to see more of us moving and using our bodies and sharing in this universal language. Right? Even if it ends up just encouraging more people to move, you’re accomplishing the greater goal ultimately. Right? Why else do you want people at Parkour? It’s to have them celebrate being human through movement.

What else would you like to share?

Mentioned in this section:
Peter Kageyama, Love Where You Live

Craig: Continuing [00:22:00] talking to people who are running some sort of community or a Parkour group, or they’re coaching or teaching. A lot of people have ideas, “I would like to …” It’s a good idea. They want to put some scaffolding in the park, or they want to pay to help fix the bench or something. How do those people go from having an idea to actually getting that done? I bring this up because you work for the New York City Parks Department.

Caitlin: Parks Department. Yes. I think the first step whenever you have a great idea for a project you want to bring to life, [00:22:30] is to find partners. There are so many people in your community, outside of your immediate community, who are so interested in improving the place where you live. Try to get the word out. Go to community board meetings. That’s really popular in New York. Find other active arts groups.

Craig: In my local community there’s a regular monthly meeting of citizens at the library.

Caitlin: Yes, exactly, exactly. Find those groups and bring your ideas there and get feedback. Start the process [00:23:00] and make it … Show them that it’s not just … Especially if you’re coming from the position of Parkour. This is not just about Parkour. This is about everyone in the community, and this will benefit everyone in the community, and you care about everyone in the community. That’s really important.

Find some people to onboard with you, to experiment with you, to brainstorm and then take it to the next step. Find people in government. A lot of communities have advocates trying to engage their community, the [00:23:30] people, the citizens living in it, and present your ideas. Honestly the best thing you can do is have as many partners. Build support before you bring it before people.

Craig: The more that you can come out at the first iteration with ideas and solutions as opposed to, “I think we should have X. Gimme! Let’s do that.” Then, the person you’re talking to says, “How are we going to do that?” The more you can work up the idea and have solution for the idea.

Caitlin: Yeah. You can have your pie-in-the-sky [00:24:00] idea, but also make sure you have a couple of more budget-friendly reasonable, “I could do it tomorrow by running to Home Depot with 500 bucks.” Sometimes it just–

Craig: I think call that garden hose solution.

Caitlin: Yep, that was it.

Craig: It’s like, we hae a park, and the park should have a water features to it because the kids want to play in it, but we don’t have any money. The neighbor who lives nextdoor bought two garden hoses and ran them across and tied them to a tree, and look, it’s a play water park!

Caitlin: Yes, exactly. That’s another thing from Peter’s book, and I think it’s a brilliant way of approaching a problem [00:24:30] and testing out an idea in your community without your community having to have full buy in yet. Come with ideas big and small on the spectrum. Don’t be afraid to pitch something smaller to get it done and make a proof of concept before you go for the home-run.

Craig: Right, and to demonstrate that you can follow through, and that you’re really committed to the community and not just popping up.

Caitlin: That you’re a part of the community. Exactly. You’re not just using them to get your agenda pushed.

What else would you like to share?

Craig: So, one of the goals of our project is to connect people’s personal Parkour practice to the larger aspects of their life, their personal interpretation of their Parkour to the other things that they know. And I have a quote from you that I want to read, it’s not a trap, and the quote is:

The misconception is that there is one way to do it, or that once your discover balanced, you are done. What we learn from [00:01:00] Tai Chi and Qigong is that balance is a dynamic state of transformation that we must experience, adapt, and respond to, and experience again, and again. This is the practice of finding the infinite in the moment.

So, what I’d like to do is just have your thoughts on that, and maybe help me unpack that a little bit for everybody.

Thomas: It’s a good quote.

Craig: Thank you. I only copied it, I didn’t actually write it.

Thomas: Yeah, so I think the problem that everyone comes up against is that they seek balance [00:01:30] as a static state, as an arrival point, as an end game. And if you’ve ever balanced on anything, which is at least half of what we do in Parkour, the process is a constant micro-adjustment of the environment, and yourself. Right?

Craig: Your physical and internal process. So, why would I think that’s a static thing?

Thomas: I’d say to a listener right now, pick your right foot up off the ground, and tell me how calm it is to balance. [00:02:00] And the answer is, at first it’s not very calm, but once I stop thinking about everything else and just focus in on balancing, the amount of attention it takes to stay balanced allows you to obliterate all the other thoughts in your mind, and you get into this awake conscious state really fast. So, to be in any kind of balance state, especially if it’s new, is incredibly [00:02:30] valuable to bring you into this moment. And because the moment is in constant change, that’s why we call it infinite, right? There’s no, you can’t grab hold of it and then be there. The second you’re there, it’s gone and you’re in the next one, and that’s this awake kind of living. And balance is the fastest way to enter into that space.

Craig: But that’s also a space that you could conceivably enter into through martial arts practice. You could decide we’re going to perform this physical repetition over and over [00:03:00] and over until you lose yourself in it. There are other ways to get to that state. But balance is particularly fertile ground.

Thomas: Yeah, I mean, if you think of the term balance as a dynamic adaptation, it can be a conversation with your partner over like a difficult issue where you’re constantly both adjusting to try and balance each other’s viewpoint of this material in the middle. Like maybe when I’m on time, you think it’s late, you know, and all of the sudden you [00:03:30] realize that your projection into that moment changes the viewpoint of the information to balance with your partner, with another person is to link the two of you to a separate central balance point in the middle, and then you can play that game with another person. And it’s the same thing physically when you hold someone’s hand and both lean back.

Craig: Right, right. And you and I talked earlier about there’s that balance in just a very simple superficial level in conversation where if you say to your kids as they’re heading out into the streets, “Stop! Don’t…,” [00:04:00] and the communication can either be perceived as an aggressive one way transfer of energy or ideas. And you had pointed out that actually there’s a subtler, deeper level to the communication. Yeah, you’re actually saying things like, you know, “Don’t get injured, I love you, I want you to live,” not “Don’t cross the street.”

Thomas: Right, right.

Craig: And I’ve had situations in cars where people are arguing in the front seat, and the driver’s thinking we’re talking about the factual speed of the car, and the passenger is talking about you’re scaring me, and they’re disconnecting, and [00:04:30] they’re just not balanced there.

Thomas: Yeah, that hidden message that every time a parent screams at a child in any way to save them from something. Yeah, they’re screaming, “I love you, and I desperately want you to live like a happy, fulfilled life.”

Craig: Right, right. That’s an excellent point.

Thomas: Yeah it’s also, we talk about falling a lot in class, and that’s another thing that we like to do is to … And it’s funny because we just came out of class of falling yesterday. But, that process of being able to fall in all kinds [00:05:00] of ways. And as much as you can, at least, try to let go of a prescribed pattern to land in. That puts you in that space of new information all the time too. And that also throws you into the moment. So, any way that you can create an un-repetitive experience, yeah novel experience. Even if you’re doing a repetitive motion, right? Seek the novelty within the repetitive motion, and then you keep coming back into the moment, and that’s how you activate those [00:05:30] flow awareness states.

What else would you like to share?

Craig: Everybody who does Parkour eventually becomes this self-administering, self-medicating, self-physiotherapist sort of practitioner, and we all have inappropriate relationships with our foam rollers and Lacrosse balls and stuff like that. And what I want to know is, do you have any specific suggestions in the vein of sort of the recovery aspect of training? Which some people just completely skip, and like for example, I’ve heard about what they call Dit Da Jow, if I’m pronouncing that correctly, and there are other some basic [00:06:00] things that are a little beyond myofascial release, and basic massage. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about maybe from the Chinese medicine point of view?

Thomas: I still want to know what inappropriate relationships with your foam rollers means?

Craig: That’s when you’re in the other room with your foam roller, and your spouse arrives, and goes, “What are those noises you are making?!”

Thomas: Yeah, you’re forced, I think the maybe the first thing that people who don’t know it should know is that bodywork’s usually painful if it’s any good at all. [00:06:30] And on some level physical people must have a bit of a masochistic streak. Or something like that. Yeah, Dit Da Jow is the old hit medicines that came out of the martial arts traditions. Every culture has some version of it, but mine are Chinese because that’s my medical training, and they are always this combination of some kind of vasodilator, some kind of vasoinhibitor, [00:07:00] and then these different agents that will either thin the blood, or quicken the blood, or cause a fluid to pass across the skin and draw out of the surface of the tissue.

Craig: And I think if I understand correctly about the Chinese medicine, the sort of big picture strategy is the liniments aren’t necessarily the way we think of it in western medicine. “Ow, I have a pain, take a pain killer,” but the Chinese medicine is usually a balance, where there’s components that are meant to, one [00:07:30] is meant to steer the system in a direction that is the “fix,” with quotes around “fix,” and then there’s also components which are meant to keep the system balanced once it gets over there. So, you don’t want just drastic swing to, “Now I feel no pain.”

Thomas: Yeah, I mean, so the classical saying is, “Where there is pain, there is stagnation,” and then the question for an injury becomes, “Well, what kind of stagnation is it?” So, if you have like a small bruise, or you bang yourself, or you’re sore after working out, that’s usually what we would call Chi stagnation, which is, the muscle’s been worked, there’s micro-tears in the tissue, [00:08:00] there’s a little bit of strain in the tendons. It’s the normal, what we would call, healing inflammatory process. So, the wound healing process, the first phase of wound healing is inflammation.

Craig: Right, and that’s a local process. It’s just the cells are physically crushed, and that releases chemicals, and then things respond. It’s not like the brain says, “Oh, there’s damage over there.”

Thomas: Yeah, no, it just happens. It’s like if you put water on a piece of toast, it’ll soak it up.

Craig: Mmmm… Toast…

Thomas: That’s a strange [00:08:30] analogy. But anyways, so, there’s a process at hand and as usually with Chinese medicine, because the medicine’s developed around analogs in nature, it’ll look at that and say like, “Oh, well how does nature handle that?” And then, if it’s like a young tree that gets bent over in a wind storm and it bends but it doesn’t snap all the way open, then that’s like a sprain, that’s not a fracture, right. So, it’s going to require a certain amount of restorative fluid but it’s not going to [00:09:00] have to be splinted, or like cut and reset, or something like that.

So, to look at your body as a landscape, that way when you injure it, and say, “Okay, well if I smash myself on the ground, and I immediately swell up and turn red in that location, and I can’t move very much,” then that means that the level of injury is pretty severe. So, you have to stop what you’re doing, and then you need to assess it. What’s happened in our medicine is that you would wrap with [00:09:30] Dit Da Jow, and you’d maybe put some kind of support on it like a little ACE bandage or something like that; and then you’d start to gently explore and move through the different potential range of motions, and see how it’s recovering. Then you take internal herbs to support the process on the inside, and increase the body’s ability to shunt blood into that area, because blood’s like the main tool for recovery.

Craig: Right. And sometimes you might want the body, you might actually want it to overreact, in the sense that, “I’m not in love with the reaction [00:10:00] level. This isn’t going to heal fast enough,” so I actually need to psych my nervous system and those things into reacting with a larger magnitude response. So, you might take things like, is it camphor or –

Thomas: Yeah, camphor’s a big one.

Craig: You know, which actually makes the body go, “Whoa,” you know, like respond to that, and you’re really just tweaking the tools.

Thomas: Yeah, so there’s a book called “The Body Electric,” where they talk about the current of energy. Where this guy practiced, he’s an MD who was looking at fractures that wouldn’t heal, and [00:10:30] he went around snapping the legs of lots of frogs. Terrible. But that was how they tested to look for what was happening. Because they started by cutting off salamander tails and watching them grow back, and they were trying to figure out how it happens; and they found that there’s this electrical current in your body, and there are concentrations at the main nerve clusters at the neck and at the hips that are very positive, and then moving out towards the exterior they get more and more negative. But then when you have an injury, [00:11:00] you get a sudden increase at that site of a particular frequency.

Craig: Electrical potential.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s like 10 megahertz or something like that. Millihertz, I don’t know. Anyway, read the book.

Craig: Read the book.

Thomas: Becker. But what happens is that charge draws the body in, and it only lasts for a certain amount of time. And in chronic injuries or injuries that are there longer, if you stimulate the nervous system, it’s kind of like creating that –

Craig: Begin that process again.

Thomas: Yeah. So, that’s the same [00:11:30] thing with bodywork where they dig into you, it’s a pro-inflammatory process.

Craig: Right.

Thomas: Where they create inflammation to tell your body that something is going on there, and then your body fixes the whole area because it doesn’t differentiate.

What else would you like to share?

Craig: One thing that I wanted to bring up is I know you have a pretty extensive background in martial arts, in terms of the number of years you put into it, starting very young and continuing on. One question I had for you is it seems to me that at some point you had to step away from that and allocate less time to it. I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts or anything you wanted [00:08:00] to say about having to change the primary love of your life from one … They’re both physical activities, but they’re fundamentally very different.

Adam: They are, and what you just said, Craig, is wonderfully accurate. I really did have to flip the switch on the love of my life. Since I was a kid my father was in the Vietnam War, and his father, my grandfather, taught karate to the World War II troops. So he knew judo and some of the old-school basic karate that we see in the [00:08:30] old movies. He was a combat instructor and taught Asian martial arts to our guys so that they could have a better understanding of hand-to-hand combat. He taught my dad. My dad talked about that here and there. So as a kid I always thought “That’s super cool.” What kid doesn’t want to be a Black belt and doesn’t want to do karate?

I was always interested in it, and on top of that, I was bullied at school. I was very short. I was the second shortest person in my class. For what it’s worth, the shortest person in my class was my main bully, ironically. [00:09:00] Yeah, so of course, that affected me. So at age eight or nine, I want to say nine, my parents and I decided that we want to look at martial art schools.

We walked around. It’s pretty funny, in downtown Emmaus, there were two karate schools directly across the street from each other. We drove into the parking lot of one. We were walking up, and you know how schools have glass windows so that you can see the class from outside? I looked through the window, and I saw a girl who was probably a teenager, and she had a Purple belt [00:09:30] on. I knew enough to know that that was kind of a high rank. So like “I’m gonna watch her for a second.”

So I’m standing on the sidewalk looking through the window, and they were doing a drill. She was kicking a pad in front of her and a pad behind her, like a front kick and then a back kick. She just looked awful. She was terrible. It didn’t look cool at all, and I thought “I don’t think I want to learn here. That girl’s not very good.” So I told my dad “I want to go across the street and go to the other place.”

So I went to the other place. Lehigh Valley Martial Arts was the name of the school, and I met the instructor, Paul Miller. [00:10:00] It was awesome. I really liked him. I really liked the other instructors that were at the school. I liked the kids that I saw. So I ended up joining. I can thank that Purple belt for … Whoever that girl is out there, I appreciate it.

Craig: The anti-example.

Adam: The anti-example. Exactly. She was the perfect contrast for me. So I joined that school, and that was my passion. That was my dream as a kid. All I wanted to do was be a martial arts instructor. In my late teenage years, as I was in college, I was a martial arts instructor. I sort of [00:10:30] achieved my goal and was right on the edge, or the premise, of at least being a head instructor for my very own school. Right about when that happened I was also getting involved in parkour. It was a difficult choice, and I had to decide “Do I want to continue being a martial arts instructor, or do I want to take my parkour coaching career a little bit more seriously?”

I made the hard choice to do parkour. The [00:11:00] reason behind that is pretty straightforward. It’s pretty honest. It’s that the more I got involved in the martial arts culture and the martial arts community, the more I saw that it was largely driven by ego. You didn’t necessarily have to be really good to be a martial arts instructor. You didn’t even have to know what you were doing necessarily. You just had to look good and act tough, or be big and be large, and throw your weight around physically.

Craig: Play the part.

Adam: Or metaphorically. Exactly. You could really [00:11:30] act a martial arts instructor, and a quick Google search will show you that that happens across the world. Don’t get too much time Googling though, you’ll get depressed. The parkour community, on the other hand, I have yet to meet someone who I consider better than me that is not obviously better than me. Anyone out there who says they’re good at parkour, they can’t do one jump without it being shown one way or another.

Craig: Right. Movement makes it immediately obvious.

Adam: Right. Exactly right. It’s a transparent art. It’s a transparent skill. You could be a big [00:12:00] karate guy and wear whatever color belt you want to wear with however many stripes on it you want, and you can toss a guy around who’s psychologically conditioned to give into that. You can either convince yourself or everybody around you or both that you’re really good, but when it’s you versus a rail or you versus the empty space of a very large jump, you either are or are not. There’s no guessing. So that element of the parkour culture, which is a sense of humility versus your obstacles, as opposed to ego versus [00:12:30] your students, really drew me in the direction of parkour.

What else would you like to share?

Craig: Hey, let me give you the wheel here for a bit. Is there anything else you’d like to share? Anything about coaching development, community development, or just random things I haven’t asked you?

Adam: I think coaching is the thing I’m most passionate about. That’s what I think I’m going to choose to share random thoughts on. There are a lot of parkour athletes in the world. [00:25:00] There’s a lot of them, and there are many that are unbelievably skilled. Just last weekend, you and I were both at an event, and there were a lot of dudes there who were doing a lot of really cool jumps. Many of them were doing things I would not even … Yeah, they jumped further than my peripheral vision [inaudible 00:25:16] watch them. It became a tennis game, turn your head side to side, watching. Incredibly skilled athletes, and that’s just the beginning.

Across the whole world there are Russians and Danish and [00:25:30] Korean and Chinese and Japanese, and there are athletes in Saudi Arabia who are doing things that I can’t do. It’s amazing how many athletes there are out there. What we have to ask ourselves is “Why are we even doing parkour, and what is it that we could do with parkour?” To me, if we’re not finding effective ways of sharing what parkour truly is, then we are sort of failing. By that I mean, while you as a specific athlete or a practitioner may truly enjoy parkour for yourself, [00:26:00] and it may benefit you,

I challenge you to ask yourself whether it’s benefiting those around you, and what perceptions are you creating to those around you when you make that show reel video, when you post your biggest move onto Facebook for all your friends to see? Just look at the comments. Read the comments from your friends, and ask yourself what exactly message is it that you are transmitting to everybody around you? Do they think you’re crazy? Do they think what you do is insane? Is it your aunt [00:26:30] telling to you be careful, and some random girl telling you how cool you are, or is it people being inspired by you? Maybe it’s a mix of those things, but look at those comments when you post that video and see really what effect you’re having.

If you see an affect that is maybe turning people away, either in the sense that they think you’re crazy and what you’re doing is dangerous, or even that they go “That’s cool, but I can never do what they are doing, so I’m just going to see parkour as this distant thing.” If you really care about the benefits that parkour has to offer, maybe take a second to think [00:27:00] about what influence you’re having on them, whether you’re drawing people in or pushing them away with what you’re doing.

So as a coach, as someone who’s passionate about involving people in the process of parkour, I’m challenging any and all listeners who are parkour athletes to consider if there are ways that they can learn to share the message of parkour and the value of parkour to the people around them. There are a lot of way to do that, and I’m happy to go into more detail, but even just the most basic coaching methodologies of how to share and how to listen and [00:27:30] how to see what people need, how to break down the movements that you know into bite-size pieces that they’re going to be able to enjoy and draw from as just a few examples of things that you can do to help share parkour in a more effective way.

If I could wish one thing upon the world, it would be that everybody had that mentality, because if they did we’d have five times as many people practicing this art and doing wonderful things in the world.

What else would you like to share?

Parkour’s Hedonic Treadmill

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

When we think about Parkour we mainly think about how to reach the goals we set for ourselves. We don’t think about is the influence others can have on us and how we view ourselves thru our own training style and accomplishments.

The reason I mention the hedonic adaptation is because in Parkour we rarely become complacent with ourselves. We are always pushing for the next big goal or challenge we see, even if it is just outside our reach we still work toward it until we can firmly grasp it. However, it is only recently I have discovered that we can fall into the trap of always feeling like we “suck” and we need to progress at a much faster rate to achieve satisfaction with ourselves and our training.

I think it’s quite normal after being in the game for 2+ years to feel like we need to constantly progress. After all, the first two years is usually the prime time we “learn the tech” and start actually feeling like we’re getting better compared to when we started. That feeling is normal and it applies to all humans, no matter what it is, we suffer from this trait of adaptation and complacency when it comes to new experiences. When we look at parkour, a sport/discipline that constantly introduces us to fear and doubt within ourselves, we are dealing with overcoming challenges daily. When we overcome challenges we previously couldn’t it is such a euphoric feeling, its one of the reasons I think we all love parkour so much. We feel so accomplished and we feel like we broke down the door that was holding us back but this feeling is short lived. It may last for the rest of the day or the next 5 minutes after a successful jump but regardless how long the feeling last, eventually we are looking for that feeling again.

We want the feel of accomplishment because it’s how we judge where we are as an athlete and as a person. We want to know we can keep achieving great things and reaping those rewards and feelings from it. Although one of the hardest things about being in this community is that there is almost no way you can avoid falling into the trap of comparing your training and accolades to that of someone else you feel is “better” and I use that term loosely. There have been times in my own training where I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t training as hard as I should be because I wasn’t progressing as fast I used to. Its only now I’ve learned that my progression is slower for two reasons. 1) I am older and now coach parkour as a job/career. Because of this I am more careful with my body as not to approach a challenge without taking careful steps to secure my safety. This is normal because as a coach, if I get hurt I can’t work and that means no money, plus it also means negative feelings will start taking over because training is also my therapy and being injured only adds to the pessimistic attitude I can exhibit if I don’t train enough. 2) As my training continues the challenges I am looking at have gotten increasingly harder. I am not doing the same kind of jumps I was when I started, which in turn means that I am getting better even if I don’t complete the jump, it is just harder to feel that sense of accomplishment when the task or goal is not achieved, only attempted. These two factors were lost on me before, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t hit the jumps that others were, especially when I had a harder time conquering the same jumps others made look so easy. Factor in the fact that most of the time these practitioners were much younger then me and I started to feel almost obsolete like I wasn’t good enough anymore.

It took almost a year and a half but I came to the conclusion I was becoming complacent in my training and my overall behavior towards life. I was comparing instead of investing in myself. I realized the reason I became upset was because I was trying to emulate what I saw others do and because of that the adaptation to my progression led me to become almost depressed and lower self worth. I was so used to the daily grind of going out and leading our weekly sessions that I didn’t realize how I made the transition from playing the game to teaching the game. I got used to having Parkour be my life for so long I almost lost that feeling of accomplishment even after smashing certain challenges.

It was only after a recent trip to Pinnacle Parkours Philadelphia gym that I rekindled that feeling and truly became okay with my style and where I was at in the world of the Parkour community. I realized that it was okay to not be the best; it was okay to compare myself but not judge myself on only my athletic ability. It was almost as this new feeling hit me and I felt alive again, I knew that my style of parkour was about conquering my own fears and doubts. I use the physical jumps I am scared of to help achieve a higher level of self-esteem. For so long I thought I was getting used to the daily grind and parkour was becoming part of that for me, and that was scary because it started to feel like all the time I invested into training and getting better was almost worthless. Like when you break up with someone after 5+ years of being together, a part of you just felt like you wasted time while the other part is trying to convince you that it wasn’t.

The hedonic treadmill is something I think we face as humans because we get complacent and we lose the sight of the original goal. I started training because I wanted to do ninja stuff and survive a zombie apocalypse, now its become more for me. It’s my job, my hobby, and it’s become my lifestyle. I’ve made countless new friends and relationships because of it and I’ve done things pre-parkour me would lose his mind over. It was okay to get complacent and feel those moments of self-doubt because that was a way to show me how to appreciate what I almost started taking for granted.

So my friends I will leave you with this, when you feel like your not achieving what you set out to do, Parkour oriented or not, do not let that overwhelm you. It is a sign from the universe that you are being tested to see if this is what you really wanted. Those who find there way back to the path will realize that there are more things to accomplish and more goals to conquer and those who don’t will find there next passion. It’s okay to get used to something, but it’s just a test to see if you can find the passion within that keeps you going.

What else would you like to share?

So, first off – open a new window in your browser, get onto youtube, and find an old Parkour video that you are in, which you feel is from a good time. It might be a sampler, a jam video, an event, whatever.

How was it? Things are different now, right? It’s not like it used to be then. I miss that.

I hear these sorts of remarks a lot from traceurs of all kinds, including a lot who are now training less, or not at all.

I want to talk about this idea of striving to keep going, keep training.???????????????

Our community as a whole, and your individual smaller communities are always changing. People come and go, jams grow and disappear, your training goes up and down. You change. And at the end of all that, there’s a much smaller number of people still out doing Parkour years later compared to the number of people that have been a part of it, or connected with it along the way. This change really seperates people. It’s not going to be like it used to be. You can’t ‘go back to training’ as you once did. That one Jam that you remember is a small part of your whole experience that you remember fondly. It’s one highlight in a long journey, which isn’t just highlights. What’s the constant in these memories?

It’s Parkour.

Parkour is still there, its still something that you can go and do. What you have to ask yourself is – is it the true idea of training Parkour, really living it, that attracts you? Or is it the memories of your initial achievements, trips with friends, conversations on a rooftop after a late night training session? These things are really important – they inform your experience of Parkour and they form part of the discipline for each person. But they change.

The most accomplished traceurs in my eyes are the ones who always find time for training. Regardless of their circumstances, commitments or priorities – there will always be Parkour in their lives. That is extremely hard to achieve I think and is one of Parkour’s greatest and most constant challenges. It’s an honest and brutal discipline, and not everyone can rise to the challenge of doing Parkour for a lifetime. At the real essence of it, is the challenge. It’s always there, if you want it. Maybe the challenge is to just go out and train for the first time in a while. Maybe it’s to stop training the same stuff and be honest about where your comfort zone lies and ask yourself if you stay in it. Whatever the challenge don’t go looking to the past – look forward. Move forward. Find what Parkour truly is for you, and just you, in each moment and then in the next – because that’s the one relationship you know can always be there:

You, and Parkour.

What else would you like to share?

Do and Jutsu in Parkour

When I asked what I could but explained the difference between the Judo and the jujutsu, My sensei used the metaphor of the mountain. I try to remember it and write it.

For my master the martial art is like a mountain and the journey (life) leads us to the Summit. But as a real mountain, one side is Rocky and the other hilly, a cold side, the other sunny. When you prepare for Ascension, from below, You can have an overview and decide how you want to climb: for the quickest and most direct trail slow and sweet. It is at this stage that, in fact, We decide what is our goal: We want to enjoy the view and learn something about the local flora and fauna or prefer to acquire the techniques that allow us to arrive at the top even in the most adverse conditions?

And here is the crux of the matter, jutsu means a method, technique(1), its aim is explicitly functional. Across the end of the do, that means via, Trail(1), is to achieve a certain level of introspection, a profound experience of reality.(2)

In 19th century Japan, with the era of samurai at sunset, the culture changed and technology rendered obsolete, in one way or another, the traditional fighting arts. People wanted to continue to practice martial arts but had to move its attention: This new generation chose as main purpose the self-improvement and spiritual elevation.(2) Then this change in goal resulted in a restructuring, more or less marked, the technical background of the disciplines that, in fact, they no longer had as a priority the efficacy.

We come, At last, Parkour. I think our discipline is in a privileged position compared to Japanese martial arts. The jutsu of parkour, In fact, does not consist in a set of techniques to luxate the joints or behead opponents, but in a general system to overcome obstacles in the environment that you will cross. It is therefore clear that the jutsu parkour can be applied at its most utilitarian without having to breach their ethical principles (or without any legal consequences). Practice jutsu means, For me, draw paths in continuity from a starting point to a predetermined arrival, paying attention:

  • To apply the right series of movements (to avoid wasting energy or time)
  • The harmony of movements that follow each other (because by the fluidity of the succession of muscular tension derives the effectiveness of a series of movements)
  • To ensure low noise impacts (Why "no sound, not shock ")

And the do? Well, the spiritual side of parkour is in overcoming the mental limits, as well as in the continuous strengthening of one's will to progress. Work on do in parkour, For me, is:

  • To complete particularly strenuous conditioning exercises (from a physical point of view but, especially, from the mental) What I propose (to anneal my willpower)
  • Run individual risky movements, that is difficult and potentially dangerous motoriamente (to develop concentration and clarity in times of stress)
  • Refine the techniques (to reply to an aesthetic and functional)

It's good to remember, Anyway, There is a common base at two practices: physical conditioning. Neither the justu Neither the do have a way to express itself if the body is not ready to face obstacles.

For against, There are some specific consequences of the two training modes. Train the jutsu door as a result greater adaptability, a high degree of improvisation as well as the opportunity to see the city as a whole is rich in opportunity and not as a series of rooms ponds and steps required. On the other hand, develop the do refine your precision and more control and "unlock" passages deemed unthinkable.

Let us return for a moment to Japan: considering the jutsu as functional mode and the do tied more to reason to engage in combat, We realize that very few were able to harmonise the two components. These rare circumstances do not justify the conviction that this was the norm or that, from a historical point of view, the jutsu It was identical to the do high ethical purposes.(3)

The fortune of Parkour is right here: the do and the jutsu of parkour are not so difficult to integrate such as those in Japanese fighting arts. Is it possible, for us, develop the two together: relying on the do to develop and give way to a tracked and traced to exit from a specialist or overly aesthetic research.

Notes:

  1. From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
  2. To Do vs Jutsu, Jeff Brooks
  3. From the ancient martial arts, Rats Westbrook

What else would you like to share?

All names stated have been changed and locations will not be mentioned to protect the author and their anonymity.

Alright so it’s story time.

A couple of months ago I opened Facebook to find that I had a new friend request. Now, I normally have a rule where I only accept requests from people I actually know or have met. However, I saw that this guy, let’s call him Arnold, did parkour. At the time I had been going to many different parkour events and figured it was possible I could’ve met Arnold and have completely forgotten. (I’m horrible at remembering new people). So when I saw that we had many mutual friends, I figured, “Why not?” And accepted his request.

A few days later I got a Facebook Message from Arnold. He just wanted to say hi and say how cool it was that I was a girl who trained parkour (insert facepalm here). Naturally, I decided to be nice and replied. For a while we talked about parkour and training and the conversation was pretty normal.

Things started to get mildly creepy when Arnold invited me to come visit him. He wanted me to meet his family and train with him. A part of me wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, after all, I’ve parkour-floored it with many people who I haven’t always known. Still, the guy does live on the opposite side of the globe, so I did my best to politely decline without hurting his feelings. I didn’t want to seem like a complete jerk, after all it could’ve been normal in his culture to do things like that.

And then, inevitably, Arnold asked me if I had a boyfriend. Keep in mind I now know that I have never met Arnold and he also lives in a completely different hemisphere. (AKA no way for us to even meet let alone date). I told him, no I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I was too busy with school work to focus on having a relationship.

This is when everything starts to go downhill.

Arnold proceeds to shower me with flattery saying how smart I am, how beautiful I am, how it’s such a shame I’m single and I need to find someone who appreciates finding a girl who trains parkour. (My internal feminist wanted to reach through my phone screen and give him a piece of my mind, but I refrained). I told him I appreciated him compliments but asked him if he would stop, since I 1. Was not interested in any way whatsoever, and 2. The only things he knew about me was what I was studying in school and that I trained parkour. It was at this point I was beginning to get seriously creeped out.

Arnold apologized and that was that. My school year started up again which meant that I was buried in homework, assignments, projects, and enough papers to keep me busy until Christmas. During the school year I have a habit of ignoring messages and emails that don’t seem particularly urgent. Arnold didn’t like that.

He began to tell me that he wanted to speak to me, he wanted to hear my voice. He started asking me for pictures and videos. (Naturally alarm bells are going off and I refuse to give him anything). I tried to remain as polite and distant as I could, never saying more than necessary and trying not to let on any information about my personal life. I hoped he would get the message and leave me alone. Of course I was wrong.

Then, he started using Facebook Messenger to try and call me. I never answered, of course, and he said he just wanted to speak to me. He thought my feels about him would change if we started talking. I said no. I wasn’t about to pick up the phone and talk to some random creepy guy I had met over the internet. No thank you. I’ve had enough lessons on stranger danger to know that was a colossally bad idea.

Finally, and here’s the punch line: Arnold said he wanted to tell me something. Figuring it can’t get any worse from here I tell him to go ahead.

Arnold told me he wants to marry me.

Yep.

You might want to read that line again.

Marry. Me. A girl who he has never even met. Someone who was just trying to be nice and talk about a common interest.

And he wants to marry me.

Why?

Because I fucking train parkour.

Yep.

Just let it sink in.

Because somehow that fact that I enjoy jumping on shit means that I would love to jump on his dick.

Yep.

Somehow part of me wasn’t all that surprised. And that’s pretty damn sad.

Immediately I’m on high alert, borderline panicking, because holy shit this guy is a creep and what if he tries to stalk me, what if he flies to where I live and tries to kidnap me. I barely know the guy but now I’m going back to everything I’ve said to him, trying to figure out if there’s any way he could possibly track me down. I don’t know what he does for a living. He could be involved with some illegal activity, he could be a drug dealer or a human trafficker. Do I fear for my safety? Should I contact the authorities? If I did, what would the authorities even do? What if I’m making a huge deal out of nothing? But what if I’m not?

Yes, I know that most of these fears are completely irrational but you never know what people in today’s world will do. And that’s the worst feeling in the world. Thinking that you’ve made a new friend, you share a common interest, that this person is someone you can trust, you can have a fun light hearted conversation with. And then shit like this happens. You begin to question and fear and watch over your shoulder for anything suspicious.

Of course I blocked Arnold on all my social media and I am warning my friends who have had contact with him to do the same. As someone who is somewhat paranoid like I am, I don’t want to brush this off as something insignificant. Better safe than sorry and all that shit.

My point is this: just because it’s not happening in your community, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And yes, yes, I have officially learned about the dangers of the internet and blah blah blah. And yes, I am probably never again going to accept a friend request from someone who I haven’t met before. But here’s the thing, I shouldn’t have to go through all this. No girl, who trains parkour or otherwise should have to go through this.

The amount of guys I meet in a year who want to date me simply because I “do parkour” is well into the double digits. I mean, I get it. We parkour girls are pretty bad ass. But we also put up with a lot of shit we shouldn’t have to.

I’ve been cat called and hit on and flirted with when I go out to train. I actively avoid going to local training spots alone out of fear that something will happen there. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So, there’s my story. If you take anything from it, try to learn that this shit does happen. I’m lucky enough to have found a community that doesn’t treat me any differently because I’m a girl. In fact, they push me and encourage me to be the best I can possibly be, and I am eternally grateful for that. But others aren’t so lucky. And my experience goes to show that it really can happen to anyone, even those who have an inclusive community.

Shit like this is what turns females away from parkour, and I don’t blame them. If I wasn’t as experienced as I am when it comes to dealing with sexism, I would walk away from parkour. Luckily, I’m too stubborn for that.
So please, men, keep it your pants and tell others that don’t that they can kindly fuck off. Cause if you don’t, I will. Someone has to, and if it’s not going to be you, than it’s damn well going to be me.

What else would you like to share?

A week of unusual as we would more often ! And c ’ is up to us to create…

Monday : I find a lot of kibble to chat in liquidation in a store.
Tuesday : I decided to ’ to buy some for donation to the SPCA of Quebec.
Wednesday : J ’ prompt people to make a donation so I can buy more pockets for the SPCA.
Thursday : Thanks to the donations of ten people, j ’ have enough d ’ money to buy all the pockets to liquidate the store.
Friday : I'll deliver the 18 pockets, total 144 pounds of kibble to cat for the SPCA of Quebec.

Every gift made me happy, as if I was a unique and special gift.
In fact, c ’ was an extraordinary gift. A deep thank you to all those m ’ who helped support a cause which m ’ is expensive. J ’ have already adopted an abandoned cat. I couldn't adopt them. But thanks to you, j ’ could feed hundreds. Thank you from the bottom of the heart !

C ’ was a week of unusual as we would more often ! And c ’ is up to us to create…